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NRTH ST TELE'A' : Snow, big rig wreck, stalled I-5 northbound traffic, but it could have been worse

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01/26/2018 | 04:14am CEST

Jan. 25--A winter storm failed to dump any snow Wednesday or Thursday on the floor of the Northern Sacramento Valley, including Redding, but its impact was felt far and wide.

It took a lot longer for travelers to get to where they were going Thursday due to a flurry of chain and snow tire requirements on area highways, as well as a jackknifed big rig on Interstate 5 near Castella and a closure of the freeway at the Oregon border.

I-5 motorists were out of luck getting anywhere north of Lake Shasta for most of Thursday morning after the northbound lanes were closed at the Fawndale Road exit north of Redding, where vehicles were screened for chains.

The non-injury jackknifed big rig accident in the Castella area, which prompted the freeway's northbound closure, complicated matters.

Still, it wasn't total chaos, said California Highway Patrol spokesman Jason Morton.

"It hasn't been too bad," he said.

That's because many truckers decided to cool their heels at truck stops just south of Redding and in Corning instead of alongside of the freeway until it finally reopened later in the day, he said.

Added bonus: there were few reported traffic accidents, Morton said.

"Everybody's been behaving themselves," he said.

What also helped, Morton believed, was the storm hitting on Thursday rather than Friday, when more motorists hit the freeways and highways.

"It could have been a lot worse," Morton said.

The freeway was closed around 8 a.m. and re-opened shortly before 10 a.m. The backup of cars and trucks waiting to go through chain screening extended to the Pine Grove Avenue exit in Shasta Lake for much of the day.

Chain and snow tire requirements also made for slow going on a number of North State highways, including Highway 44 east of Shingletown and on Highway 299 at the Buckhorn Summit and in Trinity County, including the Douglas City, Junction City and Weaverville areas.

The heavy snowfall also forced the closure Thursday of a number of schools in Trinity County.

Craig Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento, said Thursday the storm dropped only about a half-inch of rain since Wednesday on Redding, including about 0.15 inches on Thursday.

"Redding has not gotten as much of the rain as the others," he said, adding that about an inch of rain was recorded at Shasta Dam.

"But we're still adding to the numbers" as the storm passes though, he said.

With a winter weather advisory in effect until 10 a.m., Friday, Shoemaker said more rain and snow could fall Thursday night and Friday morning throughout the North State, especially its higher elevations.

The Mt. Shasta Ski Park, which has struggled this season due to a lack of snow and is set to open Friday, embraced the snowfall.

The park's Facebook page said the park received 6 to 8 inches at its base mixed with man-made snow, while an additional 3 inches of snow fell Wednesday night.

There was about 14 inches of snow at the park's higher elevations and it was still snowing early Thursday afternoon, its Facebook page said.

With more rain and snow expected Thursday night and Friday morning, up-to-date road conditions can be obtained by calling the California Department of Transportation at 800-427-7623 or at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dno


(c)2018 the Redding Record Searchlight (Redding, Calif.)

Visit the Redding Record Searchlight (Redding, Calif.) at www.redding.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

© Tribune Content Agency, source Regional News

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